Somalia’s 2016 parliamentarian election is hugely affected by corruption, vote-buying, intimidation and harassment against some candidates. Reports coming from the main five polling stations in the country indicate that the level of corruption in vote buying has reached its peak with candidates paying as much as they can to secure their seat in the Lower House. According to the General Auditor of the country Mr Nur Farah Electoral College delegates are voting for the highest bidder, “”Some votes were bought with $5,000, some with $10,000, and some with $20,000 or $30,000. But not all seats are equal. Some are influential seats and have a lot of candidates competing for them,” he said in an interview with the Somali Section Voice of America Radio. So far two seats with highest cost have been won by two candidates each seat costing $1.3 million, one of the winners was contesting Galmudug state and the other in Hirshabelle State
“If you don’t stop what you doing you will be dead, this is Mogadishu”
Some of the Electoral College delegates were threatened by rouge candidates, some of them were denied an entry in the election hall. “I travelled Adaado to vote for someone but to my surprise my name was not in the list” says one of the delegates. “On the second day there was this powerful guy (I don’t want to mention his name) came with the security and entered the hall forcibly expelling some of the delegates andcame with his own list of delegates. Apparently he was aiding his close brother who was also contesting for the seat” he adds.
A week ago, the federal electoral commissioner has publicly mentioned that she has received death threats from cabinet minister in Mogadishu regarding list of delegates for Somaliland. Ms. Fardowsa Mohamed Duale blew the whistle in an interview with local radio Goobjoog FM. “he literary threatened “If you don’t stop what you doing you will be dead, this is Mogadishu” she added.Ms. Duale is one of 22 Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) whose main mandate is to supervise and implement the election process.
Gunfire at polling stations
Earlier November two Electoral College delegates have stabbed each other In Kismayo Jubbaland in dispute over candidacy of potential MP resulting the death of one of them while the other was seriously injured. It was two weeks ago when a clan elder who was responsible for selecting electoral college delegate was shot dead in Adaado town. On Friday 18th elections was suspended in Jowhar after security forces who were loyal to the current Minster of Youth and Sports Mr Nuh exchanged gunfire with another security forces of political opponent while both contesting for same seat. In Baidoa, some Electoral College delegates were completely refused to enter the election hall.
There is doubt on securing women’s 30% quota
Looking at the current process of the election, it seems the realization of 30% quota reserved for women is very challenging if not impossible. So far only 20 female MPs have been elected out of the 82 seats allocated for women, indicating that there’s so much to do to secure the 30%. In total, 222 of MPs were elected out of the 275
Several women rights activists have already started outrage on social media demanding the gender adherence of the 30% quota without negotiation. “It is not open for negotiation, our quota, our rights” said an activist on social media. However, according to the delegates traditional elders and clan chiefs are not option female candidates due to both financial interests and the fact that some clans do not event want them to be represented by female candidate. “It seems people don’t want to be represented by female especially traditional elders” says one of the delegates. “Besides men are spending thousands if not millions of US dollars to secure seats while women do not have that much amount of money” he adds.
The presidential election which were supposed to be held in October was postponed and now is set to take place on 30thof November, however, many believe that this is not possible. “With the way things going on right now. I don’t think we will have presidential elections by the end of this month” says one of the delegates. The international community however is putting pressure on the outgoing Somali government to meet the deadline.
Somali civil society organizations are concerned over the continuing allegations of corruption in the electoral process and reports of cyclical intimidation of Electoral College delegates and election officials as well as prospective candidates for parliament, Civil society strongly urges and demands all stakeholders including FIEIT, SIEIT and the international community to take urgent steps preserve the credibility of the electoral process.
Droughts hit the other side of the country
Severe drought conditions and water shortages hit in the northern parts of the country mainly Puntland and Somaliland regions affecting the lives of people and their livestock. In October, the Puntland government officially declared a drought, appealing for urgent humanitarian assistance for its residents. The recent inter-clan conflict in Galkacyo town has also resulted dire humanitarian conditions where more than 90,000 civilians were displaced.